Writing a press release is an essential step to getting public relations attention for your business. But if you’ve never written one, or rarely write releases, where do you start? We have a simple guide for how to write a press release that anyone can follow, along with a press release template and examples that will help you get a professional result.
10 Steps to a Great Press Release
The steps to create a press release are straightforward. Pick a press release template or example to use as a guide. Write a headline that grabs attention. Next, add the date and your location. Then begin writing the release body. The first sentence should summarize your key point. The rest of the body will give details. Include an interesting executive quote. Conclude with boilerplate “About” information describing your company. Include your contact information. Add an end notation and be sure to proofread. And that’s it!
Read more detail about the 10 steps for how to write a press release, below.
1. Pick a Template
It’s a lot faster and easier to write a press release if you start with a guide or example. Staring at an empty sheet of paper or blank screen will make everything take a lot longer. Our templates which we outline below make the job easier. Pick an example or press release format that makes sense. Then add the relevant information to tailor it to your story.
2. Include a Company Logo
Your company logo should appear in the upper corner of your press release. This tells those reading your press release who you are and what you do at a glance. It also contributes to brand recognition. If reporters have familiarity with your logo, seeing it at the top of your release may jog their memory and make coverage more likely. It can also make your press release look more professional.
3. Include Contact Information
The goal of a press release is to make it easy for media outlets to write or produce content about your company. It’s likely some of them will have additional questions after reading. So direct them to the proper contact at the top of each media release. Provide a name, phone number and email address for an executive in your organization who can respond promptly if a journalist or editor has a question.
4. Write a Great Headline
Your press release headline should grab people’s attention and make them want to read. It should be something newsworthy, quick, and grabby. For example, a press release about a recent research might start with a shocking statistic, instead of simply stating that your company completed a survey. Headlines should also be in active voice and include relevant keywords to optimize it for search engines.
5. Add the Date and Place
Press releases contain the date the news is released, and usually a city and state where the release is coming from. Typically the city and state are the headquarters of the company releasing the news. If the news comes from outside of the U.S. often just the city is identified, such as New Mumbai.
6. Compose an Enticing Lede
The first sentence and paragraph of your media release is the most crucial. This is what tells news outlets what breaking news or update has occurred. A good lede should entice them and give them the basic information they need. Think about the most important point you want to make and focus on that right away.
7. Write the Body
The body of an effective press release should include the who, what, where and when of the story. Feature these details early on so reporters don’t have to search for them. Include all the details that might be relevant to someone writing an article about your news. And try to prioritize the most important information in the first paragraph or two.
8. Choose a Dramatic Quote
Quotes provide color to news articles. So make sure to include them in your press releases too. Find an executive or member of your leadership team who can add unique insight to your story. For example, a press release about a new product launch might include a quote from the lead developer about what problem it solves. Quotes should add something new to the story – not just regurgitate information you already shared. Think about quotes you’d read in a news article and prioritize those as you write a press release.
9. Add “About” Boilerplate
At the bottom of your press release, include some basic information about your company. This may include when it was found founded, by whom, what your company does, and any awards or special achievements you want to highlight. This should be its own section so reporters can easily find this background info to fill out their stories.
10. Add End Notation
A short row of hash signs tells the reader the release is ended. The End Notation looks like this: ###. It is a visual cue as to where the document ends. It indicates that no further copy (or pages) are to come. The reader knows the release has ended and it’s not simply a case of the last page being missing.
Make sure to proofread carefully. It’s hard to make a great impression with typos, missing words, or poorly formatted information. Too many acronyms or industry lingo can also be problematic.
Pro Tip: Proofreading is easily overlooked because it is tedious. Here are three simple ways to proofread. First, run a spellchecker and a grammar checker with your browser or word processor. Second, read each word slowly and aloud. Third, set the document aside for a day and come back to it. Often you can see things with fresh eyes that you missed before. If possible, get someone else to read the release over and give feedback as to clarity, comprehension, sentence structure and other points.
The press release has long been one of the easiest ways to get media attention.
And even in the age of social media and content marketing, it remains the simplest of public relations strategies for getting visibility in a startup or small business.
Recap: Items to Include in a Press Release
To recap, here are the most important elements in a press release.
- Contact information (name, email address and phone number)
- Press release headline – The press release headline should encapsulate your main message. It appears at the top, in bold.
- Date and location
- An enticing lede (first sentence)
- Body copy containing the announcement details – the who, what, when, where
- Executive quotes – Most good press releases have at least one executive quote that can be used to add dramatic quality to a news story.
- Your website address
- Boilerplate “About section”
- End notation – ###
Our free press release template is a simple, easy to use document suitable for most small business purposes. It contains the above essential elements. Get instant access to a Google Doc template here.
See these three pointers about templates:
- Press releases should be one to two pages in length. They should also follow a standard press release template. When writing a press release, keep it simple and straight forward.
- Don’t try to be TOO creative or freeform in the format. Always use a standard press release template. Reporters and editors, and even bloggers and social media influencers, are used to seeing information laid out a certain logical way so they can scan quickly. While creativity is a good thing generally, be careful not to confuse the very people you are trying to inform.
- Other materials can be linked to or added but are not absolutely necessary. Have additional items such as product screenshots or images ready in case journalists need them. You can quickly email these upon request. Some PR pros will link in the press release to a web page or cloud folder that contains items such as images or explainer videos, but that is not 100% necessary.
So now you know the basic format of a press release. To find formats of specific kinds of press releases, read the section below.
12 Press Release Template Examples
When choosing a free press release template for your company, it helps to consider the press release format or purpose. There are a variety of different reasons a company might write a press release. For example, you might want to get media coverage for a new product or service. Or your could be announcing a new funding source or leadership change. The important information to include varies depending on the type of news release you want to write. So the press release example or template you choose should coincide with your goals.
When you sit down to write a press release, start by determining a clear goal for your release. This might be to raise awareness for your brand, get more attention for a product or service, or position your company as an industry leader. Additionally, whatever you include in your release should be worth the reader’s time. You should have a clear idea of the information you want to impart. And it should be relevant to news outlets in some way. It either needs to be something you’ve just announced or relevant to current events. Press outlets likely aren’t going to write a story about a product that’s been out for years unless you’ve just added a new feature or lowered the price.
Once you’ve determined your press release goals, here are some press release examples that can help you get started.
1. New Product Launch Template
When you launch a product or upgrade an existing product, you want your customers and the public to know. This type of press release should include the news of the product launch and a quote about why the release is so important. You can then dive into the new features and any relevant details that users would want to know.
2. Announce Survey Results
Survey results can make for an interesting story. Your company may have completed a study that is relevant to your industry. Or you could announce findings that revolve around current events. This type of press release can gain widespread attention for your company and its research. And it may help to paint you as an industry authority.
For this press release format, start with a basic explanation of the study and one or two of the most prominent or shocking findings. Then share a few bullet points of additional interesting stats and a more thorough rundown of the methodology. At the bottom, include a link to the full study or an infographic of the findings.
3. Grand Opening Template
Launching a new business or store location is a big deal. You want press outlets and consumers in that area to know about your offerings so they can easily visit.
When writing a press release for this purpose, start with the basic who, what, where, and when points. You can also provide details about the location and products or services offered there. Include quotes about what the customers can expect if they visit.
4. Mergers and Acquisitions
If your company acquires another brand or merges with another business, it may impact your industry and/or the customer experience.
Press releases in this area should include the basic details like the terms and date of the agreement. Include quotes about how the merger will improve or change operations moving forward. For example, the merger of two software companies may provide customers of both access to additional tech tools. Additionally, provide background details on all companies involved.
5. Hiring and Promotions Press Release
New hires and promotions are sometimes newsworthy. This type of press release is especially relevant if it’s an executive hire or if there’s a high profile team member involved.
In this press release example, companies should dive into the background and qualifications of the subject. Include their resume and special achievements. You should also outline how what they’ll bring to the new position. This type of release may feature quotes from both the new hire and others in the organization, explaining what the move means to the company.
6. Newsjacking Around Current Events Template
Newsjacking involves inserting your company into a story about a current event or trend. This strategy can be used on social media, blogs, and in the press. This helps you position your brand and your team as industry experts. And it can help you gain media coverage even if you’re not currently launching anything new.
This type of press release should start by referencing the trend or news. You can then draw a connection to your company. You might even offer commentary from a member of your leadership team that reporters may want to include in their coverage.
7. Rebranding Template
A rebranding news release shares the news of a company name change, new logo, or even a website launch. This updates customers and the public so they’re not confused about any of the updates.
These press release examples should feature any and all changes that customers should expect. Then you might dive into why the changes were necessary or any benefits they might provide. For example, a new logo and website might simplify the brand and customer experience.
8. Official Company Statement Template
Companies release official statements for all kinds of purposes. For example, you might share your company’s stance on a recent court finding or industry move that impacts your brand. Or you could use a statement to outline your company’s stance on a relevant issue or address a controversy.
This type of news release should start with the relevant news that you’re commenting on. Then the body copy should mainly be dedicated to a quote from your leadership team or a succinct paragraph stating your team’s position.
9. New Partnership Announcement Template
A new partnership can help your company provide more relevant products or services to customers or make you a greater force in the industry. This type of press release may be similar to ones about mergers and acquisitions.
However, instead of outlining the details of a transaction, it should explain what the partnership means for customers. For example, this press release explores how a partnership between a data management platform and financial services firm can better help financial institutions manage customer data.
10. Event Press Release Template
Businesses use events to reach customers, bring in revenue, and connect with others in the industry. They’re also helpful for gaining press in your area.
Generally, even press releases are sent out before an event is held to increase attendance. But they’re sometimes distributed afterward to share highlights. These press releases should include the date and location of the event, and any details that attendees would need to know. For past events, they should feature quotes from hosts or attendees and key takeaways.
11. Book Launch Template
Writing a book can be an effective way to get press for a brand. Some entrepreneurs even build entire businesses around book sales. Once a book is written, a press release can help you gain coverage to increase sales and awareness.
This type of press release should start with the book title, release date, author, and any other basic details. You can then offer a short summary or explanation of the contents. Additionally, offer background about the author’s credentials to entice potential readers.
12. Special Award or Recognition Template
Special awards and industry recognition lends credibility to your brand. The announcement may even get you some extra attention in the press.
The first paragraph of your press release should state the award and its relevance to your customers or industry. For example, being recognized for high customer satisfaction rankings shows a brand’s dedication to constantly improving the customer experience. Include quotes from the leadership team and any other relevant awards or credentials that may further support your brand’s reputation.
Why Send a Press Release
There’s no point in learning how to write a press release unless this type of media can do some tangible good for your brand. Luckily, press releases can help companies in a number of areas. Outlining your goals beforehand can help you choose the most relevant press release format. Whether you’re looking to gain more attention for your brand or do damage control, here are some goals you might consider.
News outlets can only cover new products, updates, or announcements if they know about them. Sending your news directly to reporters or publishing it using a press release distribution service, gives easy access to those who want to cover it. Once they share your news to their audience, your brand gains more attention among your target audience.
Even if not many customers remember your actual news, a well-written press release may help them recognize your brand name. The more your company is mentioned in the press, the more people are likely to be familiar with your offerings. For example, a marketing consultant who sends out regular releases about new services, team members, and current events in the marketing field is more likely to gain brand recognition among business clients. Even if many of those clients aren’t looking for marketing services right now, they’ll have more trust in a brand they know. Then the next time your company hits the news when they are ready to buy, they’ll be better equipped to make a decision.
Public relations is a long term strategy. It’s not about getting your business mentioned once and watching tons of new clients roll in. However, sending out press releases regularly may help you connect with media members to form mutually beneficial relationships. For example, your PR strategy might start by offering expert commentary on industry events, which your media contacts can use in articles they’re already working on. Then they may be more likely to write an article about your new product or service when it launches.
Improve Search Engine Optimization
A quality PR strategy can also help when it comes to SEO and content marketing. Your releases may appear on press release distribution sites, linking back to your website alongside relevant keywords. and if you’re featured on popular media outlets with authority, you can build even more quality links.
Manage Your Image
Your company’s reputation can go a long way with customers. If you experience an issue like a data breach or misstep on social media, a press release may help with damage control. Keep your press release humble and apologetic if you’re writing for this purpose. You should also clearly outline what you’re doing to improve.
See more PR tips and strategies about getting publicity for your company.
Press Release FAQs
Who do I send my press release to?
Send your press release to press release distribution sites that media members comb for story sources. You can also send new directly to a few relevant journalists, editors, bloggers, or social influencers. This may be especially relevant if you’re trying to build relationships with specific media members. Additionally, release press releases on your website to help with SEO and content marketing. Then link to it on social media and your Google account to help followers find relevant information about your brand.
Should I send my press release in Word or PDF?
Journalists and editors actually prefer a Word .doc because it’s easy to copy and paste executive quotes, product names and other details they need for a story. Most media today will accept a PDF or .doc / .docx format. In the alternative, a link to where to find the press release posted online is also acceptable.
Some PR professionals paste the press release text into an email. The advantage is that your media outreach email has no attachment or link. Some recipients may be hesitant to click on these due to cybersecurity reasons. The downside of this method is that it may seem less official. And it’s easy for a long email to get overlooked. Some journalists don’t read long emails the entire way through.
You will hear contrary advice saying to never attach a press release in your media outreach emails. We are media here at Small Business Trends, and can assure you that many if not most editors and journalists prefer to get a press release attached. Alternatively, we are happy to receive a link to a press release. Members of the media are very busy and don’t have time for a lot of back and forth discussion trying to pry details out of you. Editors prefer to scan the announcement immediately in order to make a quick judgment of whether it is something relevant to their audience and appropriate for a news story.
What is a news embargo and how should I handle it?
An embargo means that the release is scheduled to be public on a specific day and time in the future — it is “embargoed”. This is sometimes done for a big announcement or a product launch press release, to give a PR manager or marketing manager time for advance outreach.
If the news is embargoed for a specific day and time, that should be prominent on the release or otherwise made clear. If there is an embargo, it is best to list when it lifts in red letters on the face of any advance press release. Emails get buried and the journalist may forget about it if solely in an email.
Another important point: ask the media outlet if it will honor an embargo, before sending the press release out. Most do honor embargoes, but some do not. Only send an embargoed release once the outlet confirms.